Falling in love with Pinetop, Arizona

Pinetop, Arizona does not disappoint! Especially in the fall. Last weekend we took our kids to Pinetop to enjoy cooler temps, the golden leaves and to get a little R&R. The kids loved touring the Pinetop-Lakeside Fire Station, riding their bikes around the neighborhood and roasting s’mores by the fire. We are so lucky that we can drive 3 hours east of Phoenix and find fall!

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Believe it or not, it was Nolan’s first time seeing golden leaves all over the ground. Every time Kelsey would throw leaves into the air, Nolan would gasp, “Ahhhhhh!” as they came crashing to the ground. He was in awe and I can’t say that I blame him. It was beautiful.

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Notice anything? She’s missing her third bottom tooth! She’s only lost the bottom row of teeth so far, which I love because I get so emotional when those things come out. I know, I know … it’s a mom thing.

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Nolan is twinning with his dad. Morning walks called for jackets and we were more than willing to comply .

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phoenix-mom-blogger

Phoenix-mommy-blogger

Morning walks around our cabin lead to moments like this where I just stop, stare and thank my lucky stars for kids like this.

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Touring the fire station and getting to crawl into the firetruck was the highlight of the trip for the kids. A huge thank you to the Pinetop-Lakeside Fire Department for all they do for the community and for opening their ‘home’ to our kids. They provided hot dogs, burgers, snacks, fire prevention educational tips, a bounce house and lots of goodies for the kids. We had a blast!

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phoenix-mom-blogger

phoenix-mom-blogger

phoenix-mom-blogger

phoenix-mom-blogger

Phoenix-mommy-blogger

Phoenix-mommy-blogger

How is it that she can sit on a curb, eat Cheetos and appear so much cooler than I will ever be. Sigh.

many-hats-of-a-mommy-blog

many-hats-of-a-mommy-blog

When the boys were napping, Kelsey and I walked around the neighborhood collecting leafs for a bouquet. As soon as she walked into the cabin she threw them across the counter and forgot all about them, but it was a fun game while it lasted.

many-hats-of-a-mommy-blog

many-hats-of-a-mommy-blog

phoenix mom blogger

many-hats-of-a-mommy-blog

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I set up my camera on a timer and wanted one family photo. However, Colton is holding a hair brush. No one brushed Nolan’s hair. Kelsey is posing behind dad and I’m barely standing  after sprinting back into position after setting the camera’s timer. I love every bit of this photo though because it’s real life.

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I caught a glimpse of Nolan throwing rocks into the lake with Ryan at sunset. It’s really cool to see Nolan hanging out with the big boys. He is walking everywhere and trying his hardest to keep up with his dad and brother.

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The last night we were in Pinetop, we walked over to the golf course and let the kids roll down the hills. You’re probably not allowed to do this so let’s keep that between us.

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Look at that determination in Nolan’s face to get up the hill! Meanwhile, his brother comes rolling down at record speed. He was so confused. ha.

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I’m framing this. He was trying to tell me that his pockets were “dirty” which then proceeded with a little giggle attack.

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many-hats-of-a-mommy-blog

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Now, let’s go back!

MacDonald’s Ranch Pumpkin Patch

Fall is my favorite time of year. The weather FINALLY cools down in the desert making the nights and mornings bearable. Not to mention, my birthday month is on the horizon and everything smells like pumpkin spice and cinnamon. What’s not to love?

We recently took the kids to the MacDonald’s Ranch Pumpkin Patch – it was our first time at the ranch and honestly the best pumpkin patch we’ve visited. From the moment we arrived, I had a great feeling this would be great. There were so many activities for the kids to do! Pony rides, gold digging, lasso learning, horseshoe throwing, petting zoo and a huge hay maze that they had all to themselves!

The gates close at 5pm and the patch officially ends at 6pm. When we were there, I looked at the clock and realized it was 5:45 and we hadn’t even picked out pumpkins yet! We looked around and couldn’t figure out where they were until one of the ranchers told us we had to take a hay ride over to the patch. Had to? Yes, please!

We jumped on board a mule-drawn hayride and off we went. Our ‘driver’ Gary was so incredibly nice, patient and talked to us all about the ranch. I call him patient because 5 minutes into the hayride back to the main entrance, I realized I had left my purse down at the pumpkin patch and he had to take us aaaaaall the way back. Did I mention by this time it was well over 6pm, which was their closing time. What can I say, I’m a mom without a memory these days.

If you get the opportunity to go to a pumpkin patch this year TAKE YOUR KIDS TO MACDONALD’S RANCH. I’m literally shouting it because I loved this place so much. We’ll be back year after year, for sure.

macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch

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Nolan was the best this evening. He walked around with a huge smile on his face and pointed at everything he saw. When we got to the pumpkin patch part, he literally just sat down in the patch and watched his sister and brother pick out the perfect pumpkin. Dare I say, he was the cutest pumpkin in the entire patch? 🙂

macdonalds pumpkin patch

Watching the goats eat dinner.

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog
macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog
macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch

We had the hay maze to ourselves! It was so fun to watch them run through the maze and figure out how to get out. And if Ryan and I are being honest, it was a nice way to enjoy a moment of silence while your littles are contained by barrels of hay.

macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch
macdonalds pumpkin patch

Do you think they look alike? Nolan is a spitting image of my brothers but I think he’s got a lot of Ryan in him too.
macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog
macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch

If you’re wondering, no – we did not get the $9.00 pumpkins. If you know Ryan Cross, then you know we had to wait until the kids found pumpkins that fit in the smallest $4.00 hole.

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

Thank you to MacDonald’s Ranch for hosting us this year. We are so thankful for the opportunity to come experience your ranch. If I could do it all over again, I would allow for more time to spend here – there is seriously so much for kids to do. We only had one hour, so I would recommend two at least. Enjoy!

Daughter Date at the Desert Botanical Garden

Kelsey is on fall break so Ryan and I took her to the Desert Botanical Garden to explore. With a notebook in hand and crayons in her purse, we decided it would be a great opportunity for her to learn more about our indigenous plants and surroundings. I wasn’t sure if she would find it as interesting as we do, but she loved it!

She drew a line down the center of her notebook (one side for mom, one side for Kelsey) and we took turns drawing our favorite plants. Sadly for me, her drawings were better than mine! But in my defense, I was trying to balance a camera, purse and you know … I was drawing from a bad angle. ha.

desert botanical gardens mom blogger

desert botanical gardens mom blogger

It felt like we had the place to ourselves. Mostly because the trails would wind and turn, allowing you to feel like you were alone in the garden. I’ll have to come back when it’s just Ryan and I because it felt like it could be a romantic place to stroll at night. Especially after cocktails at Gertrude’s, their on site restaurant.

desert botanical gardens mom blogger

desert botanical gardens mom blogger

desert botanical gardens mom blogger

desert botanical gardens mom blogger

See what I mean about our drawings? She drew them as good as me!

desert botanical gardens mom blogger

There are bunnies, quails, lizards and Monarch Butterflies at the Garden. This was an especially cool moment – only because Kelsey is going to be a Monarch Butterfly for Halloween. She loved pointing out the different critters that we saw along our walk.

desert botanical garden phoenix mom blogger

desert botanical garden phoenix mom blogger

desert botanical gardens mom blogger

This cactus looked like a heart so we immediately stopped in awe.

desert botanical gardens mom blogger

desert botanical gardens mom blogger

We are so grateful to live in a place that is as naturally beautiful as this. Walking through 140 acres of this gorgeous landscape reminds you to stop and enjoy the moment. Which is exactly what we did.

desert botanical gardens phoenix mom blogger

desert botanical garden phoenix mom blogger

desert botanical gardens phoenix mom blogger

desert botanical garden phoenix mom blogger

By the end of the night, she was all giggles. It could have been the sucker I gave her, too. That’s probably it.

desert botanical garden phoenix mom blogger

desert botanical garden phoenix mom blogger

 

desert botanical gardens phoenix mom blogger

desert botanical garden - many hats of a mom blog

desert botanical gardens phoenix mom blogger

desert botanical garden phoenix mom blogger

desert botanical garden phoenix mom blogger

desert botanical garden phoenix mom blogger

desert botanical garden phoenix mom blogger

This is a picture of my future. I asked her to hang out while I shopped in their cute gift shop (if you want succulents matched with beautiful pots, this is your place) and she immediately took to my phone to play Pokemon Go.

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As we were walking out of the Garden, you can’t help but notice this amazing art installation at the entrance. I stopped to snap some photos when Kelsey screamed, “Wow!! Mom, look at that!” I thought she was really getting into this art thing, only to realize this is some sort of a “poke stop”  –  this generation is so hard to keep up with!

Thank you to the Desert Botanical Garden for hosting us. We will definitely be back!

Family Day Fun with Gifts.com

gifts.com - may hats of a mom blogger

gifts.com - may hats of a mom blogger

gifts.com - may hats of a mom blogger

gifts.com - may hats of a mom blogger

gifts.com - may hats of a mom blogger

gifts.com - may hats of a mom blogger

gifts.com - may hats of a mom blogger

gifts.com - may hats of a mom blogger
gifts.com - may hats of a mom blogger

gifts.com - may hats of a mom blogger

gifts.com - may hats of a mom blogger

gifts.com - may hats of a mom blogger

Last night we ditched our plans and had a wonderful family picnic outside. In celebration of Family Day today, it was important to step away from the homework, iPhones, TV shows, laundry, swim/gym/soccer practice and just be still, together.  We were excited to partner with Gifts.com to celebrate this initiative. They sent us this amazing farmer’s market gift basket by Cherry Farms Foods.

Colton immediately gravitated toward the candies and Nolan instinctively took all of the fruit and hoarded it like baseballs. Kelsey ate all of the sea salt caramel cookies (can you blame her?) and Ryan and I just indulged in this amazing Phoenix weather. We hope you too take time out of your busy schedules to celebrate Family Day today. Do a board game. Go for a walk. Whatever floats your boat as long as you’re doing it together.

*Thank you to Gifts.com for providing great family gifts (here) to inspire families to reconnect.

Oh, and I got half of a braid in her hair! That was a huge win. She never lets me braid her hair. Half is better than nothing, so it appears we are making some progress over here.

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Breakfast in Downtown Gilbert

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mom blogger
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Liberty market bar
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liberty market family

Table for five!” – I’ve been waiting to say that for 10 months. Unfortunately for me, Liberty Market in downtown Gilbert is seat yourself. Doh. But we did venture out to breakfast as a party of five for the first time today. Nolan did amazing.

Well, he didn’t cry. He did have a blow out though and ten minutes after we sat down, I found myself walking swiftly to the bathroom with a baby in my arms and poop on my jeans asking the first employee I could find “Please tell me there is a baby changing table in the bathroom!” There was. Thankfully. Some restaurants don’t have changing tables, which drives me insane. This one did, so we were in the clear.

We played, “I spy” at the breakfast table. It was so cute because Colton would say, “I spy a black tee shirt on dad.” Kelsey and I would laugh and laugh. He started getting the hang of it though – for his next turn he said, “I spy a pink shirt.” So, that’s closer.

After breakfast, we walked around downtown Gilbert for a bit. The area has so much history and charm. Most of the restaurants are new, but they really blend into the historic neighborhood nicely. The kids found a splash pad directly under the Gilbert water tower. I’d say that was the highlight of their morning.

And, ours too! As Ryan and I were able to use the water tower to our advantage. “If you don’t sit nicely and use your manners at breakfast, you can’t go play in the water.” It worked like a charm.

A fun morning with a really fun group of people. My people.

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downtown Gilbert AZ mom blogger
downtown Gilbert AZ mom blogger
many hats of a mom - phoenix blogger
many hats of a mom - phoenix blogger

downtown Gilbert AZ mom blogger

Downtown Gilbert family

While the other two kids were busy playing in the water, I looked over and saw Ryan looking ever-so-closely at baby Nolan. I’m with Ryan on this one … I could stare at Nolan all day too.

downtown Gilbert AZ mom blogger

I don’t know about you, but I’d say Colton is really enjoying himself here. Ah, yes – two. year. olds.

downtown Gilbert AZ mom blogger

Look at him looking around! He is getting so aware. For only five weeks old, he is sure looking so much older. We love you little man, so much! You’re such a chill baby.

joy ride downtown gilbert - mom blogger arizona

many hats of a mom blogger - downtown gilbert

many hats of a mom blogger - downtown gilbert

Hello, there fall. We actually feel like we found you today. Pumpkins, cool morning air and people wearing sweaters. Although, we’re still in shorts but we’ll consider this progress.

My First Time Taking Three Kids Out

I was feeling adventurous this morning and so, while my husband planted winter grass (yes, that’s a thing in Arizona), I took my kids (all of them!) to the Farmer’s Market. That’s right. I took three kids, by myself, for an outing. To my surprise, the kids were awesome. No tantrums. No running off. No accidents. Nada. Just an awesome morning at the market. With coffee as my fuel, we even hit up the park afterwards. I came home expecting a gold medal but Ryan was still mowing the yard. Perhaps my medal will show up later.

Here are some pictures from the market.

sunday farmers market - many hats of a mom blog
sunday farmers market - many hats of a mom blog

Colton ran behind Kelsey to tickle her so she would smile at the camera (his idea) – it was the cutest thing. See how his arm barely reaches around her. Ha.

Farmers Market - Many Hats of a Mom Blog

Farmers Market - Many Hats of a Mom Blog

Farmers Market - Many Hats of a Mom Blog

Farmers Market Mom Blogger

Farmers Market - Many Hats of a Mom Blog
Farmers Market - Many Hats of a Mom Blog Farmers Market - Many Hats of a Mom Blog

Farmers Market - Many Hats of a Mom Blog

Farmers Market - Many Hats of a Mom Blog

Nolan’s back there in the stroller. Colton is not amused in this photo but I just had to have proof that I officially took three kids out. It’s one of those mommy milestones that you have to document. When Kelsey & Colton get old enough to read this blog, I just want to thank them for making this a great morning for me. Let’s face it: I’m a rookie at taking three kids anywhere so this could have been disastrous. We hope you’re having a great Sunday too.

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Fall Favorites

fall decorations
We’re just sitting around, waiting for Nolan to be born. It’s Labor Day weekend and since we can’t do much – other than the stay close to home, spend time with family, clean up and get as much sleep as we can before baby arrives, I’m going to do what I’ve been anxiously waiting to do for days … bust out the fall decorations and start decorating the house!

The kids helped me put up pumpkins yesterday and asked if “fall was here already?” To which I anxiously replied, “Almost!” I love the thought of 100+ summer degree weather ending and the ability to go outside in the morning’s and feel the crisp air. Plus, the beginning of fall only means that Christmas is right around the corner and … well, we all know how I feel about that magical holiday.

Teri’s Autumn Holiday Party

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Almost every year, Teri hosts fall party to kick off the holiday season (check out this one from 2011). She’s much better than me, because she actually waits until after Thanksgiving to dial up the Christmas decorations – so truly, this is an autumn party.

Ryan was home with a terrible cold (thanks, Colton & Kelsey) so I went solo. Teri is such a fantastic hostess – and I just loved catching up with dear friends (hi, Rachel) that I don’t get to see as often as I like. She had just the right amount of light, food everywhere, a local guitarist, bar station and all the fixings to make it feel like the holiday season has arrived.

Thank you so much for hosting, Teri! I just love your darling home!

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How cute is her house? I’m coming over one day and taking pictures of all the cute designs, little corners and personal touches that make her little bungalow in downtown Phoenix so perfect!